May 4, 2005

President Bush calls to say thanks for the slime-mold beetle

President George Bush wasn't bugged by having a slime-mold beetle named for him. In fact, he was so pleased that he telephoned former Cornell University Professor Quentin Wheeler in London on Friday, April 29, to thank him.

"He was so gracious and friendly and spent several minutes talking and said he was honored by our gesture," said Wheeler, a professor of entomology and of plant biology at Cornell for 24 years until last October, when he took the job of keeper and head of entomology at the Natural History Museum in London.

Wheeler and co-author Kelly B. Miller, Cornell Ph.D. '01 and currently a postdoctoral fellow at Brigham Young University, published an article in the March 24, 2005, issue of the Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, announcing names for 65 species of slime-mold beetles that are new to science. The entomologists also named slime-mold beetles in honor of Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The recently named beetles are Agathidium bushiMiller and Wheeler, A. cheneyi Miller and Wheeler and A. rumsfeldi Miller and Wheeler.